For the 2024 academic year, one Interdisciplinary Capstone team is working on a novel rocket that has the potential to launch careers. Capstone Team 24028, composed entirely of aerospace and mechanical engineering majors, is working with Tucson startup Nobel Works to develop a new rocket engine that could result in more power for less fuel.
Two capstone teams are collaborating with Nobel Works in partnership with R3 Aerospace this year, building on work from last year’s capstone teams. Team 24028 leader and mechanical engineering major Andrew Lefcourt is finding the project particularly challenging because of the many factors that need to be considered. However, he expects the work to make the five-student team better engineers who are equipped to take on complicated tasks in their careers.
“Nobel is trying to do something that has never been done in the United States. The thought of being a part of something so revolutionary got me excited,” Lefcourt said. “My dad is also a mechanical engineer, and his specialty is working on rocket motors, so I have always been interested in them.”
According to Nobel Works, this technology has the potential to enhance fuel efficiency by up to 25%, and it has applications across various sectors, such as aviation, transportation and energy generation.
“This program is a clear win-win-win for our company, the University of Arizona, and the senior design students,” said Nobel Works CEO James Villarreal, the student team’s project advisor. “The students get meaningful hands-on experience they wouldn’t get with paper-only designs. Between the two groups, our company has 10 bright students with different backgrounds and perspectives to focus on some of our biggest technical challenges.”